tv Charlie Rose PBS November 26, 2010 1:00am-2:00am EST
>> tonight, the king's speak starring collin further and directed by tom hooper. we he will talk to both of them. >> you have what looks like a perfect storm conspiring against this man. what could possibly be worse? your greatest demon is to have to speak, to anybody, and so this is his job. he is obviously the first king to ever have to do it and the last one to have to do it unrecorded, so it's not a great good fortune to land in that interval. >> you have the man with this stamina who has to become king, against his choice, almost against his will, right at the moment, radio has taken over as the mass medium and the coming of the new medium has
transfigurured the monarchy. before the king was just a figure. he could just fulfill the role of king. suddenly with the coming of radio, you had to speak to the people, not just the english people but there were 58 people in the british empire when the film begins. suddenly, there's a pressure on a king to be able to connect emotionally. >> also this evening, fran lebowitz talking about a new film about her and her life. it's called "public speaking" and it's directed by martin scorsese. >> although i consider myself an atheist and have done so since i was 7 years old, he said this is your religion, you are reverent about the book. >> and irreverent about everything else? >> nothing except the book. >> collin further and fran lebowitz when we continue.
with oscar season around the corner, critics are beginning to talk about the best films considered to be at the top. one early contender is the king's speech which premiered in september. it's the story of a life long friendship between king george 6:00 and his speechwriter lionel rogue. here is the trailer for the film. >> my husband is required to speak publicly. >> i have the king's -- >> perhaps you should change jobs. >> what if my husband were the king? >> my husband? >> enunciate. >> i can't cure your husband but i need total trust.
>> what was your earliest memory. >> i'm not here to discuss personal matters. why are you hear then? >> because i bloody well stammer. >> you need jokes? >> timing isn't my strong suit. >> your methods are controversial. >> it's actually quite good fun. >> yes. >> ahhh! >> have no fear. >> the job will kill you. >> i take that as a complement. >> germany will come and we will need a king we can all stand behind. >> afraid of his own shadow. >> the nation believes that when i speak, i speak for them. well, i can't speak. >> you can do it and overcome the fear. >> you can become king george with stamina. >> that is saint edward's chair. listen to me, listen to me! >> why should i waist my time
listening to you. >> because i have a voice! >> yes, you do. >> the greatest test is yet to come. >> what is he saying? >> i don't know. but he seems to be saying it well. >> the first wartime speech. >> broadcast to the nation and the world. >> this great time. >> however this turns out, i have to say i think you're the greatest man i know. >> i think i will be very good for you. >> you will be a great king. >> just say it to me. >> rose: joining me is collin further and tom hooper, he directed "the damned united" last year. i am pleased to have them both at this table. this is a true story? >> yes, absolutely. like all true stories, particularly those dealing with the royal family, we don't have verbatim records of everything that was said. but the extraordinary thing is in our case nine weeks before
the shoot, through my wonderfully research-driven production designer we tracked down the grandson of the speech therapist, lionel logue and he had handwritten diaries of his grandfather's and this included his medical report card, complete with a description of his weak diaphragm and it was something no world writer has ever had or no member of the royal has seen and we got given the rights to look at it and use it. a couple of the funniest lines in the movie are written by king george the sixth. and he turns to the king and said he is still standing on the w and the lines are spoken by the king and rinl. the frustration is that they teasingly began with the corner nation of the king.
it began when he was duke of york, no one thought it would be interesting to keep a relationship between the speechwriter and the duke of york. so for that early phase we have had to rely on, you know, very little information. but a wonderful writer's imagination. david cider had a speech stammer and went through therapy in the 1940's so the therapy that he talks about was only 10 years -- >> rose: who saw this first as a movie? >> it was david. the story begins with david because he used to listen to king george 6:00 on the radio during the second world war and think if the king can overcome his stammer so can i. when he became a writer he longed to write about it at cornell university. he had a first attempt and it wasn't until he wrote tucker, the man and his dream that he could turn to this passion
project. >> the guy that built the cars. >> yes. and he began to search and get blips on the radar. it fascinated him. he tracked down valentine, one of the sons we see in the movie and valentine revealed the existence of the diary and david wrote to the palace and the queen said not in my lifetime. the memories of these events are still too painful. so david waited when he realized the queen would live to be 186. it was many years he started to write it. he was writing a screenplay and got blocked and then a close friend said why don't you write it as an exercise as a play to simplify it and that was the form it was picked up by this tiny french theater company in london and that's how i came to it. i only came to the material because i happened to be half australian and living in london. >> you knew it was a movie.
>> my australian mother was invited by australian friends to go to this fringe theater to make up part of the audience of this fringe theater play reading an unproduced play called the king's speech. my mother had never been to a play reading in our life and only went to be a good australian in london and she called me up and said i think i found your next film. >> rose: she said that? >> yes. for me as a half australian, half englishman the film was resnant because one of the major themes of my childhood was my australian mother dealing with my father on his up bringing so i know what it's like for an aussie to deal with an englishman. >> and you knew this was your king george. >> absolutely. all of my research into king george 6:00, i thought this was a man that was nice to the core, gentle to his core, had tremendous human it and when i thought of collin -- collin
doesn't looks like king george ii, he is a big strapping lad. the real king george ii was small and sickly looking but i felt the spirit of the man was more important. collin is nice to his corp. he does not have a mall lined bone in his body. he has humility and gentleness and these spiritual qualities were more important than the spiritual side in terms of being important for this. >> how many roles have you gotten because of your spiritual side. >> no showing. >> rose: how do you approach this? >> it looks like a fairly unescapable fortress at first, i think. the humanity of the character, i think, does strike you very early on in the process. but the ways to research it are not easily available. the royal family doesn't make themselves available for such
purposes. if i'm going to play a cab driver i might spend a day with a cab driver. you can't stop by and say can i hang out with your father. >> exactly. you can't say can i stop by and work for a day. those avenues are closed, and so this sort of material is necessarily secondary. and there's quite a lot of that. a lot of written about it. these are the recesses of documented history, though. you have to dig a bit here. because as we were talking before the show, this is not the information that is put out there in the official version. you know, tom used to refer to wallace simpson and the story as the a plot and we're focussings on the b plot. you follow the minor character off stage and see what happens. >> explain that to us because it's fascinating to me. one of the lines that i loved in the film was when they quoted
the last words of king george's father. >> out of all of my sons he is the only one that had any guts. >> or more guts than the rest of them put together. >> that's documented. >> rose: because he talking about how he struggled with his stammering or do you think he's talking about he in his life would be better prepared to be king. >> he was of the one that his father had observed and his son -- people were tearing their hair out about edward the 8th's behavior. it was going out of control. you know -- >> he was having this affair and he wanted to marry her. >> not just that. there's a letter from his mother, queen mary and they're tearing the strip off of him and saying how can you betray centuries of responsibility and everybody depended on you. people lost their lives for the name of the crown. going back to the first world war, people have made massive
sacrifices in the name of the king and you're prepared to throw it away for a woman. that's how it was viewed. people felt he was losing his reason. there would be different versions of this. there are apologists for david 8th and some are very fashion nature and feel he was a great romantic figure and i don't weigh-in on that argument. >> rose: what was the relationship between the two? >> i don't think they knew each other except intermittently. i think they went through phases and there's a letter where david says, it was after world war i and he says i'm glad to have the opportunity to get to know my brother again. they're very interestingly, -- bertie was decommissioned from the navy because of health problems which were a result of the nanny which was mentioned as one of the abuses when he was a child. this resulted in stomach ulcers.
his father was con volessing from a riding accident and they spent six months getting to know each other so that was one bit of warmth and light in terms of the parental relationship and i think in that sense of learning to admire his son came out of that experience. >> here is a scene from the film. this is where the character that you play has his first appointment with lionel logue played by geoffrey rush who is the speech therapist who would change his life. >> are you going to stop treating me, dr. logue? >> only if you're interested in being treated. >> please, call me lionel. >> i prefer doctor. >> i prefer "lionel." >> what will i call you? >> your royal highness. and then, "sir" after that. >> how about bertie? >> that's what my family used to say.
>> perfect. in here, it's better if we're equal. >> if we were equals, i wouldn't be here. i would be at home with my wife and no one would give a dam. >> please don't do that. >> i'm sorry? >> i believe sucking smoke into your lungs will kill you. >> my physicians say it relaxes the throat. >> they're idiots. >> that makes it official then. >> what makes this great for you. >> what is extraordinary is that you have this man with a stamina that has to become king sort of against his choice, almost against his will right at the moment. radio has taken off as a mass medium and the coming of this new medium has transfigurured the monarch, because before, a king was a visual icon in
british culture. if you could wave from a carriage, look good on a horse, he could fulfill the role of king. and suddenly, with the coming of radio, you had to speak to the people and not just the english people but there were 58 countries in the british empire when our film begins and suddenly there was this pressure on a king to be able to connect emotionally, and if you think about all of the analysis, you know, of whether a bomber is or isn't successfully connecting emotionally, he is the inheriter of the challenge that was thrown down by radio in the 1920's, bus it doesn't matter whether the person in private is genuinely connected emotionally, does he appear to be connected. >> does his voice connect? >> yes. and to be faced with that new technology in that 10 year window, you know, there was a point where they couldn't prerecord, it wasn't possible to become king at that moment with
the second world war approaching and the demands on him to connect with the english at such a tough time in the national psyche. it was an extraordinary set of demands placed on him and so many stories about kingship are about the corruptions and destruction and this is a story about reluctance. he absolutely didn't want to be -- >> rose: he was prepared to give it up, the opportunity. >> yes. and who knew the guy that would get him through this was this wonderful maverick person who goes to the heart of the english establishment. and the english find it hard to recognize even now and god knows how hard they would have accepted therapy in the 1930's. my mother talks about the snapperry of therapy in the 60's when she arrived in england so god knows about the '30's.
the deliciousness of the story is that he is the only outsider that could help him and no one in his own background couldn't save him. >> rose: so what did you like about this? >> i think what tom is saying, it's interesting that at that particular point in history, you have what looks like a perfect storm conspiring against this man. what could possibly be worse, you know? his greatest demon is to have to speak to anybody. so this is his job. he is the first king ever to have to do it and the last to have to do it unrecorded, so it's not a great -- he is of good fortune to land in that interval. and yet i think that there's an extraordinary paradox that is ir resistible in terms of the relations of the story, that those catastrophes were converted into something victorious, that he discovered virtues, because he faced it,
because he did it anyway, he actually found something that he would never have found and i think that he connected. you know there's a quote of becket's unnamable, what is it, i must go on, i can't go on, oh, go on. that's like watching him. when he gets caught up. >> and perhaps made him a better king. >> i think it did. but it's interesting to look at the values that he represents, if you listen to the big speech in the film where he is saying why we have to fight and he is talking about the primitive doctrine that might is right. he is actually believable because he doesn't want might himself. you know, his adversary, is not only a master of the microphone and can make use of this new medium to hypnotize the masses, he is also invading poland. theres is a man prepared to commit mass murder to grasp power and the population of britain are listening to a leader that does not want it. so they can believe him when he says that might is not, so
they're connected. and i think there was a sincerity and people talk about the fact he did speak when he was with him. it's all the same if you're sitting in a living room that at any moment can be bombed or you're signature in the hospital and struggling through the effects of war and the person speaking to you is speaking from a guilded palace, you know, you just think what part of that connects to you? but they knew that this man, just to speak to them, was going through an enormous battle, and i think that probably was one of the things that facilitated that connection. >> let's take another look at you. this is talking of becoming the king. >> everything all right? let's get cracking. >> i'm not hear to rehearse, dr. logue: >> call me lionel. >> >> never. >> call yourself doctor, i did
that. >> no training, no diploma, no qualifications. a great deal of nerve. >> lock me in the tower. >> i would if i could. >> on what charge? >> fraud. >> with war looming, will subtle this nation as king. you destroyed for the sake of working with patients you couldn't hope to assist. it would be like mad king george iii. from the mad king george the stamina. >> what was the challenge for you? >> i think scoring that, as i said before, going through the
evidence, you know, there are limitations on what you can really no so a lot of this was a journey of our imagination based on what our writer could provide and what we ourselves could bring to it. but i think in so many it was judging things. i felt that we could have gone very, very badly wrong in all kinds of directions. the human could have been misjudged. it's all to obvious to say what would have happened if the stamina had been misjudged, if that was grating or excessive or inauthentic in any way, we would have had no film. it would have been an absolute catastrophe. >> rose: so where did you go for that? your own skill? >> i honestly don't know. i mean, i have been waiting until this moment, i the film has not come out yet so we're waiting to see if it did come off. >> rose: the buzz on this is very good. >> i'm hearing it and i'm very gratified by it, particularly when i hear from people who stammer themselves who tell me
that it resonates and the sense of relief about that is pal pable for me. but it's not just those things. i think that it was important for tom to be vigilantes about where -- the fear of self pity could have killed us too. i think we could have ended up in a kind of -- we could have been mired down in a "poof little rich boy" account, you know, "look at me." i mean, we really had towns something about where the damage came from. but when you hear that from the character himself you have to be careful. >> rose: are you saying, which i kind of believe, you have to buy into this is an important story with consequences, do you not? >> yes. but i think that the interesting thing about stammering, if you're a stammering in the moment of hitting that sign, the world falls away, nothing else
ofs exists. if you're a stammerer you don't need to be the king of england to be dramatic or facing germany. it's a profoundly heightened state to be in where every day becomes looking at your fear with these silences and i think collin captures that personal drama which is not global and suddenly this man suffering this personal trauma is positioned in this global context where his personal drama is particularly unhelped. >> i was interested in watching this, whatever evidence i could find, to see how he combats it, how he navigates his way out of it. and that told me about what kind of person he was. >> rose: what evidence did you find? >> well, we have film of it. there's not a lot of it. there's the recording -- there are various recordings of his speeches and funny enough some of later speeches the stammering is more evident than the 1939 speech you hear in the film.
some of the speeches in 1943 or 44 to the home guard where you hear that -- and then there's the other speech and tom and i both had the same reaction to this and there's a shot of him talking in profile to a very large crowd. it wasn't so much wanting to understand what is happening technically to that man's body. that was something else i had to address. but it was actually seeing, if i were to slow it down in my mind, the mini narrative of what he is actually experiencing. i felt i could read the moment where he hit that wall, where that dismay comes over him, when he hits the w of the word "when" and you see him have another go. and to me, it's in his face that he can't go on by pushing. and you see him having to collect himself. there's nothing more heart
breaking. there's a man that in front of everyone is having to close his eyes and have a moment with himself and heaven knows what he is wrestling with in that moment. it must be the loneliest thing in the world and it's an abyss, and everything has fallen away and you're in the deepest darkest imaginable hole. yet he does come out of it. you see his jaw working and his mouth going. the signs of his private struggle in front of so many people, you know, are so readable, but he does come out of it and then you see something else in him where he just goes on and he goes on with the same dig knee, the same pace, the same resolve that you saw in him before he hit that wall. that's what it told me about him. i had to find what that seizure felt like, what it was made from, something personal only i could find but what was
interesting to the rest of sus what it told us about him, that he fought that battle in front of people on such a regular basis. >> and i can say this about collin which is that, when i saw this four minute archive clip, i had tears in myizes from the shaky little clip, and i at that moment, when i saw this, i thought actually this is the solution to the stammering is how the real king did it. his suffering is so poignant and so humanizes him immediately that i knew that if collin caught the essence of it that we would be in a very powerful place and collin's extraordinary achievement, if he is even conscious of it, is that he somehow internalized what i felt the real king was going for and that's why i'm so profoundly moved by what collin does in the film because he has caught that moment to moment navigation at this kind of sign.
>> rose: congratulations. thank you. >> thank you. great to see you again. "the king's speech" opens on november 26, friday night. >> fran lebowitz is here, an author and social commentator and has written for "vanity fair" and mademoiselle and others. she is in a documentary and features fran lebowitz doing what she does best, talking. here is the trailer for public speaking. >> i obviously love to talk. so i never thought about being good or bad at it. only when people started remarking on it did i realize people thought of it as anything special. >> you think there's a difference in a female voice and a male voice in literature. >> you get on the phone and there's a difference in a female voice and a male voice. >> no one has wasted time more than i have. no one. i looked at 1979 and i looked up
and it was 2007 and i said you have to get to work. there are so many books. the books are terrible. and this is because you have taught tech self-esteem. >> when i was a child it was called talking back. now it's called public speaking but it's really the same. >> rose: i am pleased to have fran lebowitz back at this table. welcome. >> thank you. >> and congratulations on this. >> thank you very much. >> so when this idea was first proposed, you talking, a series of interviews done my marty, first, it wasn't marty in the beginning. who was it? >> graydan carter proposed this. we were in a car taking his children to disneyland. the youngest is now a senior in high school and the rest are now grown men. that's how long this thing takes. he said i want to make a documentary about you meaning he wanted to produce one. i said, no, i do not want people
following me around with cameras. that happened positive me once with the bbc many years ago and by the time they left no one was speaking to anyone i knew. i said i don't want anyone to follow me around with cameras. now i'm the only one in the country for which that is true. >> you're the exception. >> the singular exception. >> everybody else has reality shows. >> i knew that marty wouldn't do that. in fact, marty made, just from a marty point of view, in the original documentary, from a film point of view. >> rose: but somebody else was first to propose -- >> wes anderson. >> wes said yes. >> and spent many years not being able to come up with a plan. >> rose: so then how did marty get involved. >> i believe that graydon asked marty's advice and marty said, what about me? >> rose: so --
>> i believe this is how -- i believe this is how cheney became the vice president. >> rose: you're exactly right. >> very similar. >> rose: he was in charge of the committee to find the vice presidential running mate. >> this is the first time there's any comparison between martin scorsese and dick cheney. >> rose: tell me about the process and sitting there and being interviewed by marty at the waverly inand wherever else. >> those interviews were done over a period of many nights. we shot from 11:00 p.m. at night to 5:00 in the morning. that's fine with me because that's when i'm up. that's also when marty is up. >> rose: that worked perfectly. >> it worked perfectly. >> there are many other things. that's the bulk of the movie. and there's marty and a guy name ted griffin who is a screenwriter and works with marty quite often.
he wrote oceans 11. they asked me questions and i answered the question. >> rose: you are a public speaker and make most of your income as a public speaker and lecturer. >> that is quite true. >> so they lotted that around. >> quite a bit. >> there's been some old documentary footage. >> and he chose this one. >> at this exact show there's a clip. i never ask marty what he was doing. a lot of people said how is the collaborating with marty. i didn't collaborate with marty. marty made the movie. i don't collaborate. neither does marty. we were perfect nor not collaborating. i didn't know until i saw the movie that there was any archival footage, what he was going to use. i saw the movie 7 different times and seven different movies. the final movie that other people will see was the 7th and much changed. >> so what changed. >> everything. i mean he added many things. he took out many things. we continued shooting up until this may. you know, he was constantly
changing. and if hbo had not taken it away from him, he would still be shooting it. he be still be on casino. he he is still angry with the sound guy on "casino" and he would like it back. every time we screened it, near the end, when i got there to what he was doing, i said one night after we had a large screening, i was of the first one out of there, marty was already in the lobby and i said, marty, it's done. he said really, do you think the music on the one thing is too loud? >> i said the music on the national book award? >> he said you can't hear the end, can you? i said i don't know, i know what i said. he said the music is too loud. i said marty, there was no music at the national book awards. so the music you're hearing on the film, so here is my advice to you, marty -- >> rose: stop it. dial back. so you like it, first of all? >> as a movie, i love it. watching yourself in a movie is
incredibly disconcerting, especially in my case, since i otherwise imagine myself to be totally free of delusion and managed to convince myself 1981, 2010, i looked exactly the same so i was flabbergasted, really. >> over a period of 0 to whatever you are now you had aged a little bit. >> i thought there was something wrong with the movie. i complained about it. marty is the producer. i said there is something -- i look horrible. she said you look fine. i said i don't look fine. after a few days i called her back and i said do you want to know what -- do you want to know why i think that? you look in the mirror in 1981 and then do not look again until 2010. i do not advice that. keep on looking in the mirror so it doesn't shock you. >> suppose someone comes here from a far away planet and said
what is a fran lebowitz? what would you say? >> first, you would say there is the fran lebowitz, there's only one fran lebowitz. >> i would say that. >> rose: she came out of new jersey, fell if love with new york, fell in love with talking. >> i love work. you know, i would say that i'm a writer, by which i mean, i have written some books. i believe i will write more books. >> rose: why do you believe that? there are those that say you're scared of writing. >> that is true. >> rose: because you can imagine what good is and you're not sure that you can be that good. >> no, good i'm not worried about. >> ok, great then. >> yes. i'm afraid of writing. that is without question, true. and i am afraid of writing to the extent where i believe i
have taken all human fears and placed them on this one thing, you know? it's the way that most people have many fears, they spread them out over, you know, a number of fearful things. i have taken all human fear, put it on this one thing, the same way that, like, a junky for instance has many problems and once you become a junky, you have one problem; you're a junky. i decided i can't stand all of these other fears so i have one fear. i fear the blank page. however i have two half-finished books. >> how long have they been half finished. >> one has been half finished quite a bit longer than the other but as i proposed to my friendly publisher, denny, i have two half finished books. put them together and we have a hole book. it may not make any sense. >> if i were going to take you where i'm go to speak or do an interview in which there were a thousand people you could quack on station with no fear and no worriy that you could engage that audience in a minute.
>> i have no fear of talking. in fact, the bigger the audience, the more pleasurable i find it. i actually enjoy it. >> why is it different talking and writing. >> if you had ever seen anyone's conversation transcribed, you would know. people imagine they speak in perfect sentences or paragraphs but they do not. and my editor pointed out to me, although i consider myself an atheist and have done so since i was like 7 years old, he said, theres is your religion, you are reverent about the book and that is what gets you you. >> reverent about the book and irreverent about everything else. >> because nothing else lives up to the back to. >> >> rose: there's also this about you, certainty. you have an opinion and you're certain about your opinions or not? >> i'm certain about my opinions. where does that come from? >> being intrinsically correct. >> stop it. >> i mean, it's true. especially in big things. in big things i have no --
>> -- >> when people say they don't know what is right or wrong? i always know. i always know what is right and wrong. not just myself but for others. >> rose: you have a sense of fashion, too, a sense of style. you choose this blazer which i like very much. choose the white shirt. choose probably boots and jeans. that's fran's uniform. where did that come from? >> fran. >> i know that. >> it evolved naturally. >> you know all of the fashionistas too. >> i love clothes. >> but you wear the same thing. >> no. i have many of these jackets, many shirts. but it's always a white shirt and -- >> i have many colored shirts. >> rose: tell me where your passions are. >> i would say -- passion might be a little strong. >> rose: opinion would be easier. >> mostly i love to read. truth is i love to read. from the time i learned to read, i have always considered to be a better choice than life.
>> who are your best friends. >> well, i my best friend is lisa robinson, music editor of "vanity fair." toni robinson. >> he is in the movie. >> she did an interview with you at the 92nd street y. >> she is in my movie because she won the nobel prize. >> you went with her. >> she took a bunch of friends with her to the nobel prize. it was much more entertaining than you would have imagined. i would strongly recommend to everyone watching, get a friend who wins a nobel prize and go. >> >> rose: what was great about it? >> first, it was fun. i don't think such a fun person had won a nobel prize in quite some time and there were many entertaining parties. you could smoke everywhere there. >> rose: and you liked stock home because -- >> well, i like stock home because i had never been in the city where the treats are full
of people cheering writers. >> rose: here is another point of view. this is what this film is about. fran talking. answering a question or just talking. take a look at this clip. >> what i did, when i first came to new york, i drove a cab, did things like that. but just exactly enough to pay the rent. then i stopped working. as soon as i had that $121 for the month, i wouldn't drive the cab anymore, you know, because i wanted to hang out. # you know, i wanted to do nothing. it's very important, i think, for getting ideas, you know, or thinking of new things or that comes from hanging around with other people, you know, talking, that life, you know, sitting in bars, smoking cigarettes. i mean, that's the history of art. >> part of your success in my judgment is there's an image of fran, there is a -- there's a look, there's an image, there is
someone who loves talking and does that. do you agree with that? there's a fran image. there is a fran look. >> i think that comes from two things. i have never changed my hairstyle and i have never changed my mind. >> about nothing. >> about almost nothing. i mean so i think those two things, they are equally important. >> some of the things that you talk about here, for example you talk about a person who has an enormously good art collection and well-known in talking to the people from new york as elbow hit the painting in new york and you use that as a metaphor for -- >> this is a story i heard a few ears ago that was showing friends a picasso and i believe he put his elbow through it causing a tear in the picasso.
>> after he agreed to sell it for $139 million. >> million, yes. it was a huge news item here. and everyone kept talking about this and kept saying he put his arm into a $135 million picasso. and i kept asking which picasso was it. >> and everyone kept saying the $135 million picasso. no one seemed to know or care. that's how you identify the picasso, by the price. and the other thing, as you know, this man has quite a bit of trouble seeing, something wrong with his eyes. rp. >> which is apparently why he puts his arm in the painting or perhaps that is why. and this man is a very well-known art collector. >> and a serious and good art collector. but what was the painting? >> then i said, well, the blind art collector is the perfect
metaphor for -- >> meaning art has become a commodity. >> meaning that this painting is described as a $135 million picasso and our response to the visual arts is visual. and if we can't see, why would we collect it? >> here is the interesting thing about you. >> you smoke. >> i do. >> you do not drink. >> no. >> and you do not do drugs. >> that is correct. >> because you like sobriety so much. >> because i gave up drinking and taking drugs when i was 19. but between 15 and 19 -- i gave that up when i was 19. i never even tried to stop smoking because i know when i'm licked. >> you could of course stop. >> i could not. if i could -- i never even tried. i have never entried not smoking, not even for one day. >> you know this will kill you. >> yes. but here is the other thing. even people who don't smoke, they will also die. >> you will just die younger. >> perhaps. maybe i will, maybe i won't. sometimes people get killed in skiing accidents. have you had a serious
conversation with a doctor about this? >> heat me ashore you, if you smoke, you you have no other conversation with your doctor, i can walk in with my leg hanging by a thread and he would say because you smoke. >> you're exactly right. >> this is a huge love affair between you and one city, new york. >> yes, sometimes unrequieted. >> because the city doesn't, what, return your love? >> no, sometimes unrequieted on both sides, i feel, you know? you shouldn't judge that. >> true. let the girl speak for herself. >> sometimes i like the city less, you know, because the city is less city-like. ok? the thing -- there are certain things that are wrong with cities that people don't like about cities much these we accept. we accept that cities are noisy, not that pristine, they're crowded. these are not things we like. this is not why we like cities. we do not like cities because they're noisy, crowded and
dirty, we like them because -- so i get angry and disappointed if the city becomes a city-like which it has under the present mayor, although he didn't start it, he certainly seems to have finished it. >> making it what? >> more suburban. >> how so? >> because he doesn't want you to smoke in public places. that's certainly part of it. >> it's not good for your help. >> is he a doctor? >> no, but this is -- you just have to come to this conclusion. smoking -- i accept the fact that smoking will kill you. i accept the fact that even secondary smoking is bad for you. i object to it. i will make my point of view clear. but for the rest of the population it's good that things are that way. >> it isn't. it's not his job, okay? here is the thing. my theory about michael bloomberg. >> what is it? >> all jewish men of his age that do not become doctors are
failures. you can't smoke. can't eat transfat. i didn't even know what that was. i discovered transfat is something in doughnuts. who eats doughnuts, charlie? by the time you're at the point of eating a doughnut, you don't care about your health. >> you have never eaten a krispy-kreme doughnut? >> i haven't. a carrot is a healthy doughnut. then salt. and i said to myself, salt? did you ever hear anyone say, you like new york? no, too salty. this is not his job. this is not his job. it's paternalistic. it's suburban. the guy is a hick. >> he is from boston. >> from boston. i rest my case. >> you mentioned unrequieted love. in your life today, are there any great unrequieted dreams? >> i mean, i still have child hollywood -- like there were two things i wanted to be in my
childhood that i would still like to be if someone would let me. >> what are those two? >> i wanted to be the chief justice of the supreme court. >> you didn't get that until later when you started hanging out on law and under. >> i had been to "law and order" because i wanted to be a judge. >> you were an arraignment judge. >> gentlemen. >> and i wanted to be the conductor of the new york philharmonic. leonard bernstein was my idle as a child. >> do you have a musical ear? >> no. no talent at all. >> no talent at all. >> other than to talk. >> no. well, i think i can write pretty well. i have no musical talent. >> stan would like you to finish those two books. >> i have no musical talent. >> you like music. >> loving something and being good at it are not related. i played the cello as a child, i was remarkably untalented and i wanted to be the conductor of the new york philharmonic. i realized that would not occur.
>> rose: beyond those two things that you could not do -- >> i could be on the supreme court. you do not have to be a lawyer to be on the supreme court. i'm already not a lawyer, i'm half way there. >> you do not have to be a lawyer. you do not have to go to law school. you do not have to have written about the law. you just have to have a president that is willing to nominate you and a senate that is willing to confirm you. that's all you need. >> and i'm really -- >> you're two steps away from being a supreme court justice. a president that will nominate you and a senate that will accept you. >> and i'm already judgmental. >> rose: what is it that you don't like about fran? >> my slot. >> what does that mean, your slot? >> i'm incredibly lazy. i'm the laziest person that you will ever meet. >> it is said that when you first came to new york you would earn muff money to pay your rent and your food and stop working. >> the second. my rent was $121.78 a month. the second i had that, i stopped
working for the month. i'm still what is like that. that's not my rent anymore unfortunately. but i'm incredibly lazy. i would be perfect as the idol rich. >> they all like you too, don't they? >> no, not all. >> so what -- let's talk about some opinions that you have. president obama? >> well, i voted for president obama. >> you voted. that's good. >> i vote in every election since i was 21, ok? that's because you couldn't vote until you were 21. you couldn't vote at 18 then. i voted for obama. i have to say that he was not my real, my first choice. >> hillary? >> no. john edwards. i liked his economic policies. i thought he was more of a new deal democrat and i didn't know about his personal life and i wish i didn't now know about his
personal life. and i really did think that obama was way to the right of me on domestic economic issues and i was correct. that was my biggest fault finding. >> rose: not that he changed; just that we didn't understand him. >> i understood him. i did. the only thing i didn't understand -- >> people feel he was a vessel everyone poured their hopes and into. >> that's how he succeeded. he is kind of a show business figure and i knew that, and i -- there were things i liked about him and things i didn't like about him. the thing i was wrong about with obama was that i thought he was lying about afghanistan. i thought he was saying that so the republicans wouldn't say oh, he is a democrat and weak on security. i was shocked when he kept that promise. i thought that was the programs you keep. >> of all of the promises -- >> that was of the wrong promise to keep, i believe. >> but he never promised a public option when he was talking about health care.
>> you didn't have to. that's what you imagined. first it wasn't called a public option. that's what we thought he was talking about. >> rose: or single payer. >> or like what they have everies in the civilized world. you're not allowed to say civilized world anymore but that's what we thought he meant. >> rose: talking about how there should be a natural aristocracy of talent. this is interesting. roll the tape. >> in the lost 30 years there's too many democracy in the culture not enough in the society. there's no reason to have democracy see in the culture. the culture should be made by a national aristocracy of talent, by which i mean, it doesn't have to do with what race you are or what country you're from. it should have to do with how good are you at this thing and that is a natural aristocracy no, your book is not as good as anyone else's book. your life story would not make a good book. don't even try.
i had to interview toni morrison and give her an award. everyone was there to see her get her 8 millionth award. i said since you're here, when tony morrison said life is a book you want to read, she did not mean everyone's. all right? >> that's one of your more profound things right there, the notion that art should not be about popularity, number one, where everyone has the same vote with respect to what is good and bad. >> and everyone shouldn't make it, i mean, make art. what i was saying is that, you know, we're -- where democracy is important is in society. everyone should participate in the society, not just voting. you you have to do more than that. no one does that. everyone leaves that, as if there are experts for that. there aren't experts for that. that's what democracy means, ok? but in the culture, there are experts. they're called artists. they should be the people who make the art. >> including writers and --
>> he why. any kind of artist. >> religion? >> yes. >> you're religious? >> i am an atheist. i have always been one. i mean always, since i was maybe 7 years old. >> what do your parents think about that? >> my mother, after forcing me to go to sunday school my entire life and forcing me to attend all sorts of family religious occasions, after she put me through this and she was an atheist maybe a few years ago, my father was more observant and not at all an atheist. >> and here we are at this table talking about something that you clearly have, which is writer's block, which you call writer's blockade. >> tell me about the writer's block business. everyone seems to want to talk about you and writer's block. >> el with, i mean, i would not call it writer's block. writer's block for me is a temporary thing, you know, six weeks. theres is more a writer's blockade i would say. >> or writer's decade?
>> to me this was like the vietnam war. it was the same timetable, same schedule as the war. i don't know how i got into it and now i can't get out of it. i don't know all of the reasons for it. i could guess. >> well, guess. >> i think i had a kind of delayed and not very positive reaction to success. and also more than that i am a the most trustful person in america.
>> all of years ago -- >> did you think i can't do it? >> was it a fear it won't be good? >> i didn't think about it. >> i think real people don't even think about it. >> i think you have grown old gracefully. i really do. >> we look fabulous. >> did we? >> i should say public speaking premiered on november 22nd on hbo. it will air again on hbo on november 30 at 10:00 p.m. and on hbo2 on december 1st at 8:00 p.m. "public speaking "directed by martin 64 say see and they said this about someone else but it's about you, if there were nor fran lebowitz, they would have to invent her. >> who said that. >> i did. >> thank you. >> thank you. pñ